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Michigan Dog Training

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Plymouth, Michigan 48170

Boy attacked by dog, saved by cat and the missing link no one is talking about

By Essential IT


Recently a video went viral showing a cat that seemingly came out of nowhere to save Jeremy, a four year old boy from a vicious attack from the neighbor’s dog. The cat, named Tara is the family’s cat. Her striking defense of Jeremy reminds one of movies where the superhero is but a second away ready to save the day and fortunately Tara fulfilled that role.

Jeremy and Tara
Jeremy and Tara

If Tara hadn’t been there, this planned and well executed attack by the neighbor’s off leash and strong dog probably would have resulted in Jeremy being killed. His injuries that occurred in a split second were Level 4 (“one to four punctures from a single bite with at least one puncture deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth…”) on the Dunbar Bite Scale (Dr. Ian Dunbar is an internationally known Veterinarian Behaviorist who is well known for his assessment of the severity of biting problems based on an objective evaluation of wound pathology). If it hadn’t been for Tara, the injuries surely would have been a level 5 (“Multiple-bite incident with at least two Level 4 bites or multiple-attack incident with at least one Level 4 bite in each”) or 6 (“victim dead) as the dog bore down on his bite and was dragging the child away from others (the mom and Tara).

Dr. Dunbar states, for a Level 4 bite, “The dog has insufficient bite inhibition and is very dangerous.  Prognosis is poor because of the difficulty and danger of trying to teach bite inhibition to an adult hard-biting dog and because absolute owner-compliance is rare. Only work with the dog in exceptional circumstances, e.g. the owner is a professional and has sworn 100% compliance.” I believe the dog’s true bite level, if Tara hadn’t intervened would have been a Level 5 or 6 bite.  In which case, Dr. Dunbar states, “The dog is extremely dangerous and mutilates.  The dog is simply not safe around people.  I recommend euthanasia because the quality of life is so poor for dogs that have to live out their lives in solitary confinement.”

As reported by Laura Liera, a Californian staff writer in her article, “Calls come in to adopt dog that attacked boy: shelter says”, “Calls have flooded the phones at the Bakersfield Animal Care Center from people wanting to adopt the dog stating they want to rehabilitate the dog.  Henry Johnson, the animal care director states, “I admire their animal compassion, but this dog attacked a child.  It’s a vicious animal. And the dog’s attitude has not changed since he’s been under quarantine. ” The dog is not being turned over to anyone and will be euthanized.  As a professional dog trainer and behaviorist at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan who specializes in working with aggression cases; I am generally slow to recommend euthanasia as often times there are things one can do to modify the dog’s  behavior and teach owners how to better manage their dog’s behavior.  However, in some cases such as this one, the dog is too far gone to rehabilitate.  He has demonstrated his willingness to seek out, stalk and attack his human victims. Unfortunately, he poses too great of a risk to the community and euthanasia is the only responsible solution.

Jeremy wasn’t doing anything to taunt or entice the dog.  He was simply on his bike, in his driveway on the other side of a vehicle from the dog. The bite wasn’t’ in response to Jeremy doing something to the dog eliciting a fearful aggressive

dog bite, dog aggression, Michigan Dog Training
Jeremy’s bite injury

response nor was Jeremy even riding up and down the sidewalk eliciting a prey response. Instead, Jeremy was minding his own business and enjoying life as a four year old should on his own property. The dog stalked Jeremy seeing him on the other side of the vehicle. And, I use the word “stalked” because that is what he did. From the surveillance video, you can see the dog haunch his head and body down toward the ground, look under the vehicle to locate the child and thus determine the quickest and most effective way to get to Jeremy. And, this is the missing link of the story that no one seems to be talking about.  The dog not only attacked a child  but instead sought out the child and executed the totally unprovoked potentially deadly attack if it hadn’t been for the heroic act of Tara.

Owners having dog aggression issues can contact Michael Burkey at Michigan Dog Training to schedule an evaluation or call for an appointment at 734-634-4152.


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